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Honda Amaze
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Customer Rating
: 3/5
Expert Rating
: 8/10
Warranty
: 2 Yrs / 40,000 kms (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
Delhi
 help (Rs.Lakhs)
    Change City
5.6 Lakhs-9 Lakhs

Strong Areas

  • Stylish Demeanour
  • Convenience Of CVT
  • Powerful Performance
  • Superior Dynamics

Weak Areas

  • Lack Comfort Features 
  • Average Quality
  • Mediocre Ride Quality
  • High Engine Noise
Honda Amaze
 
 

Honda Amaze Diesel the game changer for Honda India

Honda needed a diesel, adn it took a long time coming, more so when it was finally launched Indian car buyers lover for petrol power plant starting going up again. However, Honda did need a diesel power plant if for nothing else but at least to ensure that car buyers start visiting its showroom once again. Honda Amaze diesel will definitely do that for Honda in India


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ecardlr.com National

Honda Amaze

As a strong as its image is in India, even Japanese giant Honda has fallen victim to the drastic shift towards diesel in the Indian car market. And to be honest, the current scenario is of Honda’s own making. When manufacturers the world over began work on diesel power plants, Honda was reluctant to even consider developing an oil-burner. The company finally, grudgingly took the plunge less than a decade ago with its first ever diesel engine (the 2.2-litre i-CTDI) specifically for the European market. A diesel engine for the Indian market has been a long time coming and it’s finally here in the form of the 1.5-litre i-DTEC motor we recently experienced at the Honda-owned Twin Ring. Motegi circuit in Japan. From the moment we fired the engine, it was clear that Honda finally has the firepower needed to take on the likes of Maruti and Hyundai in its charge up the sales Charts. But, before we get into the finer points of the engine, let’s focus our attention on the car that will serve as the launch pad for this motor in India. It’s the sub-four-metre saloon derivative of the Brio, it’s called the Amaze and it will be here to take on the Maruti Swift Dzire come mid-2013.


BOX SET

Let’s go in reverse order and start with the styling at the rear, which is where the difference between the Brio and Amaze really is. Honda released teaser images of the Amaze before its official press unveiling, and what was instantly clear was that it would be a proper three-box saloon. It’s got a defined boot section and doesn’t have that truncated rear end of the Maruti Dzire. However, you can tell that this saloon was derived from a hatchback by the way the C pillar flows sharply into the tail. That said, the integration of the boot onto the hatchback body is fairly cohesive. Honda has tried to add some flair to the design with smart creases on the rear bumper and a rising belt line on the rear door that culminates in the interesting, City-like wraparound tail-lamps. However, the upright boot lit still looks quite ordinary and it’s only the thick band of chrome above the number plat that give the tail some flash.

Moving forward, we find the new rear doors are different to what we’ve seen on the Brio. That’s because the Amaze sits on a 60mm longer wheelbase than the Amaze sits on a 60mm longer wheelbase than the Brio which, along with the flatter roof, dictates their larger size. Ahead of the B pillars, the Amaze is identical to the Brio and, in fact, viewed head-on, it’s only the restyled front bumper and additional horizontal chrome slat on the grille that differentiate the two. On the whole, the Amaze looks more grown up than the Brio, but we wish Honda had given the saloon bigger wheels and tyres for a more planted stance. The Amaze uses the same MRF 175/65 R14 rubber as the Brio, but the alloys are a bit wider to allow a slightly better contact patch.

SPACE ACE

If not for the design, you’ll certainly like the Amaze for its practicality. The boot lid opens to reveal a fairly spacious luggage bay (for a sub-four-metre saloon) that is far larger and a lot more useable than the Dzire’s. Honda hasn’t revealed boot volume just yet, though it’s easy to tell the Amaze’s boot will swallow two large suitcases with ease. But given that the car’s length, has cabin space been compromised for luggage room? In a word: no. And that’s exactly where the brilliance of the Amaze’s packaging lies. It’s taken Honda’s ‘man maximum, machine minimum’ philosophy to a new level altogether.

The increase in wheelbase has resulted in a corresponding increase in rear legroom, vis-à-vis the Brio, and headroom sees an improvement too. To put things in perspective, the Amaze feels a whole lot larger on the inside than the Dzire. The beige seats, door pads and roof lining and the large windows only further enhance the feeling of space in the back. Even the central tunnel is very low, though the cabin’s limited width makes sitting three-abreast in the back a squeeze. For its part, the rear seat is nicely padded and offers decent back and thigh support; it even comes with a smart centre armrest with two cup-holders. If anything, some may find the rear seat backrest a tad too reclined. The rear seats don’t fold forward because there’s a strong V-brace just behind them to improve torsional rigidity. In fact, according to Honda engineers, the Amaze’s chassis is even stiffer than the Brio’s.

There aren’t any more surprises elsewhere in the cabin. The slightly Spartan-looking dual-tone dashboard, with its offset centre console, is a straight lift from the Brio, as are the comfortable, single-piece front seats. Sadly, the parts sharing also means many of the Brio’s not-so-nice bits are carried over too. The cabin plastics, while well put together, don’t feel particularly rich, and the exposed portions of the body near the door pockets are telltale signs of penny-pinching by Honda. If there’s some consolation, it’s in the soft-touch steering, which looks quite upmarket, and the rear power window switches that are a big improvement from the Brio’s tacky buttons.

As on the Brio, visibility is really good (if you are tall, as there is no seat height adjustment) and, before you ask, yes, the Amaze will come with a rear defogger – something missing on the hatchback. You can also expect fully loaded versions of the Amaze to come with steering-mounted controls and an audio player with USB connectivity, but no CD player. No complaints about storage for smaller items – you get a large glovebox, bottle-holders in all four doors and a total of four cup-holders.

DIAL ‘D’ For DIESEL

As you may be aware, Indian taxation norms dictate a lower rate of excise duty on cars with a length of less than four metres and an engine capacity of less than 1.2 litres for petrols and 1.5 litres for diesels. So it comes as no surprise that the Amaze will be available with the Same 88bhp, 1198cc, 16-valve petrol unit that currently power the Brio hatchback. With only a 30kg weight difference to the hatch, you can expect the peppy engine to delivery similar levels of performance and efficiency too. But even Honda knows the success of the Amaze truly hinges on how well its new diesel engine is suited to the job.

The 1.5 i-DTEC engine that debuts in the Amaze is essentially a scaled-down version of the just-launch 1.6-litre, 118bhp, common-rail motor that will power Hondas in Europe (see box.) No power and torque figures have been disclosed yet, but we expect this twin-cam, four-valve-per-head motor to produce close to 90bhp and around 21kgm of torque. The diesel Amaze also comes with an all-new five-speed manual gearbox, which is similar to the one in the 1.6, but with a completely different set of ratios to suit driveability requirements in India. In fact, as Ryuji Matsukado – chief engineer for the diesel motor – told us, the entire engine-gearbox package has been tuned for performance under 3000rpm, which I where the engine will reside in typical driving scenarios.

There’s evidence of this focus right from the moment we set off in the car. There’s terrific pulling power right from 1200rpm, followed by a gentle surge around the 1500rpm, mark, which is when the turbo comes on song. Overall tractability is fantastic and there’s also a nice linearity in the power delivery that makes this engine far nicer than the Fiat 1.3 Multijet diesels. What also helps drive ability is the relatively low gearing, which lets you pull in a higher gear than usual. Another area where this engine betters the Multijet is refinement. Idle is vibration-free and fairly quiet and, even up to 3000rpm, this motor doesn’t get particularly noisy. The generous use of sound - insulation material in the engine bay and on the firewall play a vital part here. According to Honda engineers, the insulation package will be even better on the production cars.

It’s only when you rev the engine harder that it starts to sound thrashy, but given the characteristics of this motor, you’ll rarely find yourself holding gears longer than needed. If there’s a weakness, it’s that there is no top-end punch. The power drops off a cliff when you reach 3800rpm, and thereafter it’s quite a wait for the 4500rpm rev limit. This engine simply isn’t very free-revving, which is quite unusual for a Honda.

Drive in an unhurried manner, though, and you will be rewarded with good responses to part-throttle inputs and, going by Honda’s claims, excellent fuel-efficiency too. Honda is claiming best-in-class fuel economy figures, so we expect an official ARAI-tested figure in the region of 25-26kpl! What will further endear the Amaze to its predominantly city-based clientele, is its smooth-shifting gearbox and light, easy-to-modulate clutch.

SPORT MODE

Driving on the Motegi cirucit’s smooth surface, it’s impossible to tell you what the Amaze will be like to drive on India’s infamous potholed roads. What we do know is that the Amaze will share its suspension with the Brio (front MacPherson struts and a rear torsion beam axle), though Honda has stiffened the front springs to compensate for the additional weight of the diesel engine. A takeaway of the heavier load on the front is that the steering gets added weight, and in that sense is more feelsome than the Brio’s unit. We also noticed a wee bit more roll around the bends, which only points to Honda tuning the suspension for better comfort than dynamics.

GAME CHANGER

The Amaze may not be a landmark car in Honda’s illustrious history, but for its Indian arm, it’s a game-change. It may not look particularly different from the Brio, but the roomy cabin and sizeable boot easily compensate for this. Its diesel engine sets the benchmark for refinement in the sub-1.5-litre space, and performance is good too. Excellent fuel economy promises to be another carrot here. As a product, there’s no doubting the Amaze’s strength, but to really capitalise on this, Honda will have to price the Amaze in the region of the Dzire. If it does so, Honda has a serious shot at stealing the crown from the Dzire as the best-selling saloon in India.

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